With the Old Man headed off to Pakistan for a start up conference, I had to make my way up to St. Louis, MO to meet up with in 6 days. I was pretty excited about being on my own since it has been awhile since the Old Man has gone anywhere, but I was also a bit nervous about all of it because it had been so long since I was all alone.
In the beginning of this adventure, when the Old Man was leaving I made sure I had a solid plan and in most cases I made sure I was in an RV park it just felt safer. A few months later (what feels like a lifetime) I laugh at my past self and decided that for once on this trip I was going to do it my way. Sure I had a loose plan but nothing set in stone. This drove the Old Man crazy, but oh well I am doing it my way.
First on the agenda was to figure out a place I could stay at about the half way between Dallas and St. Louis. That turned out to be (at least for me) Tulsa, OK or just outside of Tulsa. I picked this spot based solely on the fact that it was close to the Blue Whale on Route 66. Yep that was my reason nothing else. Well maybe that it was a short drive to the Mark Twain National Forrest and I wanted to hang out their on the weekend and hike with dogs.
The Old Man off to the other side of the world, I finished up work and decided that it made complete and total sense to go ahead and drive the almost 5 hours to Tulsa. I had a midway point picked out, but I figured I might as well push on and be where I wanted to be to start work the next day.
My first free spot didn’t work out and as it was 11:30pm I found a second spot at the Hard Rock Casino, score that it even had a dump station you could use for FREE!!!! Pulled in walked the dogs and died. The next day was work work work, found a Starbucks so I could get some coffee and not feel guilty for using up hours of free internet.
In need of some clean clothes I found the nearest laundromat. Holy moly did I find the penthouse of laundromats. It was clean it had 3 (yes 3) different load size washers and dryers. It was coinless (whoot no quarters needed) but the staff was super helpful scoped out my load and offered up what washers and dryers to use and the exact I need to put on my card. Did I mention how clean this place was, I have been in a lot of laundromats never have I seen one so clean. After a little while I figured out it must be kind a of new because they had to help everyone figure out the card machine and the many different kinds of washers. They even had free wifi that was actually pretty fast so I could work without any issues.
One hour and ten dollars later all my clothes were clean the dogs were working on getting the sheets dirty again. We headed off to a park down by the river (I do live in a van) to hang out the rest of the day before heading back to the Casino and figuring out what I was going to do the next day.
My original plan was to head over to Mark Twain on Friday afternoon taking a half day so I could get up early on Saturday and hike with the dogs, but work was busy and taking a half day to drive somewhere I wasn’t sure I would have interent didn’t seem like a good idea. So I headed back to Starbucks for a few hours, then off to the park again. The weather had changed a bit, it was foggy, cold, and just yuck, but at least we had a pretty setting to work and the dogs got some fresh air. Bonus we happened upon a women's crew race (meet, event?) I felt bad for those ladies, it was a gross cold day and there they were running and rowing in it. I was happy to watch from the bank in my many layers (because I am from Florida), Simon was actually quite interested in the boats and the races.
With a free Friday night alone and not in the middle of the woods, I decided to head into the Casino and find some dinner and maybe a drink or two. I did all of the above, met some pretty neat people, one even gave me a recommendation for a bar in St. Louis.
The next morning the pups and I headed to the woods for some off grid weekend fun. It was again a pretty crappy day and I was glad that we waited to drive to the National Forest. The drive was pretty cool as we have finally run into fall and I actually got to see some fall colors. We made it to the forest just in time for the promised sun to start to peek out and the temps to warm to a record high 80F. The dogs and I roamed around found some good trails to hike and of course they got their play time in the creek. Jayne just loves to play in the water which is so funny to me because she used to be so afraid of it. Simon, mad I walked him so far in the humidity just plopped down and cooled off.
Worn out, I found my book a bottle of wine and the pups and I just sat outside enjoying the silence and watching our horse neighbors. The next morning we got up hiked for a bit and then it was off to St. Louis. The Old Man had sent me an RV park before he left so halfway to St. Louis I called and booked a few nights. I needed a shower, a place to work, and I figured the Old Man would want a place to hang out a while while he recovered from his jet lag.
I hope you meet us in St. Louis (or at least read the blog about it), I have hopes for our tourist adventures there.